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Generic Bases


updated: May 23, 2024


Microsatellite, as related to genomics, refers to a short segment of DNA, usually one to six or more base pairs in length, that is repeated multiple times in succession at a particular genomic location. These DNA sequences are typically non-coding. The number of repeated segments within a microsatellite sequence often varies among people, which makes them useful as polymorphic markers for studying inheritance patterns in families or for creating a DNA fingerprint from crime scene samples.


Microsatellite. Microsatellites are small pieces of DNA that repeat. They are usually only a few of the DNA base pair letters in size. The combination of letters and the patterns in which they repeat can be unique between individuals, which is not unlike actual fingerprints. These patterns can occur in families as well and be inherited from parent to child.

Stephanie Morris
Stephanie A. Morris, Ph.D.

Program Director

Division of Genome Sciences